For better or worse, when I was growing up, my parents absolved my brother and me of almost every household responsibility. Whether it was cleaning our rooms, doing yard work, or making lunch, we pretty much had a free pass on every domestic duty in our household.

By the time I got to college and was living independently (sort of), I suddenly had to do many of these things on my own, and believe me, the learning curve was steep. Looking back on it now, by taking a free pass on household duties as a kid, I realize that I was missing out on a chance to learn some important life skills while building a little character. Throw in some quality time spent with my parents — not to mention developing a sense of self-worth and pride — and I can't help but regret my childhood life of leisure.

This is especially true in the kitchen, where families used to spend much of their time together, and where many traditions have originated. In the modern era of over-scheduling and convenience eating, time together in the kitchen, preparing healthy and wholesome meals seems to have become a rare occurrence. This is a shame because not only is it healthier to eat a good home-cooked family meal, but it can be a rewarding activity for parents and children alike.

Here are 10 ways that kids can benefit from the experience.

1. Kids Gain Important Life Skills

Everyone has to eat, and everyone should know how to prepare some simple meals, which will come in handy when kids get older. And it's a good first step toward healthy eating.

2. It Helps Them Feel Useful

I'm a big believer that laziness is a learned trait. Kids want to be involved with what their parents are doing, and more importantly, they want to feel useful. So welcome their presence in the kitchen and let them get their hands dirty.

3. They Learn Responsibility

Being in the kitchen and preparing meals is a big responsibility, especially when you're cooking for other people. And responsibility is an important building block toward developing confidence and self-esteem.

4. Families Can Spend Time Together

Modern families are too busy and fragmented. When parents and kids work together in the kitchen, they are spending quality time together making lifelong connections.

5. Parents Can Get a Break

Kids can be very helpful, giving tired and overwhelmed parents some much-needed help. Assistance with even the simplest tasks, like putting away the dishes or setting the table, means one less thing that Mom or Dad has to deal with.

6. It Replaces Screentime

The reality is that kids (and adults) spend way too much time on their screens. Taking the time to prepare a meal together focuses your attention on things more important than social media.

7. Working With Their Hands Is Good for Development

In the age of technology, kids spend less time developing tactile skills. Working in the kitchen means that kids have to use their hands for something other than texting or playing video games.

8. We Learn Where Our Food Comes From

Health and obesity problems highlight the need to take a closer look at where our food comes from. Cooking at home and taking part in food preparation is a good first step in choosing healthier foods, avoiding processed junk, and appreciating what goes into making a meal.

9. Parents Learn to Lighten Up

Parents today are more anxious and stressed than ever, especially when we are trying to oversee every aspect of their kid's lives. As long as they are safe, allowing kids to make a mess of things in the kitchen is good practice for parents to relax and go with the flow.

10. Kids Develop Independence

Kids that are comfortable in the kitchen are better able to cook for themselves, which is one step toward being more independent. In the end, isn't this what parenting is all about?

The key to making this work is for parents to be patient and accept that mistakes are an important part of learning. As long as they are not hurting or endangering themselves, mistakes can be corrected or cleaned up. Besides, we were all once in their shoes, and for many of us, it took a few kitchen disasters before we got it right.

With the right frame of mind, working together in the kitchen can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for everyone in the family, so encourage your kids to join in the fun, and embrace the uncertainty of every kitchen adventure.